Dear IKEA

For something like 30 years I love you. You are my Swedish interior designer, you are my supplier of tea candles and you always offer a nice opportunity to spend some money on kitchen utensils I don’t really need.

And I like your furniture. Our house wouldn’t be the same without all those lovely Billy shelfs. And where would I store my fabric if it wasn’t for IVAR?

And here we go. What, dear IKEA did you do to good old IVAR who’s been  a constant companion in each and every space I lived in since my student days? What, I ask you? You discontinued the beautiful shelfs with galvanized metal rails and replaced them with some cheap plastic crap. IKEA, this is not good.

Yesterday I wanted to buy an IVAR shelf – no I am not enlarging my fabric storage, it is meant for the basement – and with horror I realized that the IVAR shelfs are now equipped with plastic railings instead of the metal ones. WTF?

I complained immediately. I know that the salespeople don’t make that kind of decisions and that it’s not their fault, but they are the only contact persons I had. Being in an IKEA in Switzerland (as opposed to German IKEAs) they were very polite and even got the store manager for me. He explained that they are doing this to maintain low prices.

Well, I guessed something like that. For years I have been observing the deterioration of the once beautiful BOMULL fabric which was perfect for making muslins and now has become so coarse and loosely woven that it’s just not useable any more. But it’s still 1 Euro / meter.

Supposedely people would not buy their products any more if the raised prices, or so the store manager told me.

Really? Will people stop buying cigarettes if the prices go up? Will people stop buying milk  if the prices go up? Will people stop using their cars if the gas prices rise?

It’s the same old topic over and over again: cheap is good. Would people really go to another furniture store and buy some crappy plywood shelf because IKEA is soooo expensive?

Dear IKEA, if I were you, I would think twice about where I want to position myself on the market. If I were you I would inform my customers that prices for raw material and labour have gone up worldwide and in order to KEEP UP THE QUALITY we have to raise the prices. If I were you, dearest IKEA, this would be what I want. I would want to sell consistent quality products to my long time customers and I would want the young designers working for me to make good quality products for my newer customers. If I were you I would show my customers a little more appreciation and wouldn’t sell the cheapest crap just to keep down the prices.

Well, IKEA, I am not you obviously. I am one of many and I don’t count that much. Somebody will buy your stuff, no matter what. In the end, it is your descision what you offer your customers and I bought your plastic IVAR anyway, so why the fuss?

But I am disappointed. And a little bit sad because sometimes I get the feeling that quality, values, manners are going down the drain.

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5 Responses to “Dear IKEA”

  1. Lauren Says:

    I am sorry this is happening to your favorite furniture from Ikea!
    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head about cost. Most people don’t think about why things are cheaper and are more expensive. I think they need to come to understand why and responsible retailers should help people to understand.
    I could totally go on a tangent here but I won’t 😉
    It just really bothers me that both people and manufactures think cheap is better… when most times cheap is just cheap.

  2. Anne Says:

    Get yourself a big car and come to Denmark. We got IVAR back last year! http://www.ikea.com/dk/da/catalog/categories/range/10364/11703/

    Unfortunately we still have the new bad version of BOMULL. 😦

  3. Hans Says:

    Thanks for this post! I’d like to second your comment. The new plastic IVAR shelving from IKEA is awful! Yes, it lets you “lock-in” the shelves so they don’t pop-up, but that was never really a problem with this classic design.

    I saw so many broken shelves when I went to shop for IVAR at my IKEA in Munich. I picked, what I thought were 14 non-broken shelves, and by the time I got home one of them had already broken in a way to be unusable. I wonder how much money IKEA is losing on broken shelves, replacement-transaction-costs, not to mention the environmental impact of using oil to make plastics.

  4. AF Says:

    Today I discovered the horrible IVAR plastic ends on the shelves!

    I will avoid buying any of these with the plastic and look for an alternative! I really can’t see how much this will save IKEA on cost by sacrificing quality and potentially losing customers. I would be more than willing to pay a bit extra to maintain the quality. The original design was fine and the price was decent. I think they could have kept the quality and raised the prices a bit. I would guess that IKEA has a high enough margin on these items to still make enough of a profit on the original wooden/metal shelve design.

    CHEAP, CHEAP, CHEAP is what I’m seeing more and more of at IKEA. IKEA might have lost this IVAR customer due to this change.

    What a disappointment.

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